Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Safe & Sound

Four days after our safe arrival in Las Vegas, I woke up feeling rested and as normal as it gets.
Without the groggy-brain effects of jet-lag. It's a wonderful feeling.

Sunday morning we received a warm loving 'Welcome Home' at Meadows Fellowship, our home church.  Totally feeling loved!

Gary and I cannot express how much we truly appreciate all the love and prayers and support each of you gave us during the past four months.  You are a vital part of our safe and successful trip.

  • If you live in the Las Vegas area - you are invited to come and hear our Mission Trip Presentation.  
  • It will be presented in two parts - on Wednesday evening January 22nd and January 29th.  From 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
  • Meadows Fellowship, 7801 West Alexander Road, Las Vegas, NV 89129   (just West of Buffalo)

Everyone wants to know about the food - what did you eat? So here's a sampling of the delicious meals we enjoyed in five different nations.  Nothing too crazy.  God has given us 'missionary stomachs' and kept us healthy.

Stay tuned for more reports .... Pat

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Love of Jesus Displayed in India

Our love for others is our grateful response
to the love God first demonstrated to us. 1 John 4:19 TPT

Our time in India has flown by and has been very fruitful. Working alongside The Master’s Touch Church and Pastors Mike and Megha Gutknecht has been a great  joy.   In addition to regular church services, prayer meetings, home groups and Bible Study, there were special outreaches during December.

Eye Clinic
Eye clinics in India are not at all clinical!  With numerous people participating in multiple conversations, carried out in five languages, the cozy space we were set up in sounded like a large family gathering.  Which – to be honest it really was.   Eye exams were conducted, glasses were distributed, neighbors visited with each other, and the Gospel of Jesus was shared.  

What a joy-filled day it was.  By our best count 80 people had their eyes checked, 60 pair of glasses were gratefully received, the gospel message was shared. Regardless of their ethnic background, religion, age, or vision problems - all were prayed for and touched by Jesus’ love.

Baiganbari – Tea Garden Village
The local team from The Master’s Touch has an ongoing weekly outreach to the Tea Garden Village of Baiganbari.  Strong relationships have developed over the years as they help the children with schoolwork, teach Bible lessons, provide basic medical care and assist with other basic needs throughout the year. 

Haircuts at Baiganbari -  Armed with plastic salon capes, hair clippers, scissors, combs, ready smiles and generous hearts – a team of eight hair stylists from a local salon descended on the village and provided free haircuts to over 20 children. 


Christmas Celebration at Baiganbari  – Children and their families enjoyed an evening of singing, teaching about Jesus and the reason for Christmas, gifts for the children (a warm jacket aka a hoodie and matching sweatpants) and snack boxes for everyone there.  Our host family in the village are Christian and set up a lovely nativity scene. The very rustic village setting really made that ‘first’ Christmas come alive.

Thank you for being a part of showing Jesus Love to “the Least of These” (Matthew. 25:32-40) We believe it brings a smile to Jesus’ face as we share His love in a tangible way – especially as we celebrate His birth and share the real reason for Christmas.

The Journey Continues into the New Year ~ Pat

Monday, December 23, 2019

Merry Christmas from India

This Christmas season we are reminded that Jesus came - because of love. As His followers - each of us are called to share His love. Our mission field might be next door, at our job, at school, or it might be around the world.

Thank you - for supporting us as we reach out with Jesus' love to our mission field.

Where ever you find yourself this Christmas, remember that you are greatly loved and valued by Emmanuel - the God who came to be with us for all time and eternity.

Merry Christmas from India!    Gary and Pat

Watch this short video for an update on our past few weeks.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Past the Halfway Mark

So far on our journey we have crossed the International Dateline; the Tropic of Cancer,  15 time zones, taken 18 flights on 9 different airlines,  2 bus rides,  countless Grab taxis, tuk-tuks, vans, motorcycles and walked more than our daily 10,000 steps in 5 different nations.

We are more than halfway through our four month trip. Whew!!!!

Enjoy this brief update of our time in Cambodia.
If the video is not loading go directly to the YouTube Link

Lunchtime at the Church Home.
Our week in Cambodia was rich and rewarding.  We spent time with two ministries we work with closely plus had a really fruitful time with Ted and Sou Olbrich and their ministry - "Foursquare  Children of Promise." They have an amazing ministry and a great group of people working with them. We visited two of their church homes and saw their rice fields.  They are a church planting movement that cares for widows, orphans and separated children in need.  This is a work we are thrilled to endorse wholeheartedly.

Plus we already talking with them about bringing short term missions teams to Cambodia in the near future.

We are now in North India with Mike and Megha Gutknecht and their family. India is really our second home and this year we'll be celebrating Christmas with our family here.

As 2019 draws to a close we look ahead to 2020 and find ourselves so very grateful for what God has allowed us to do - the amazing people and ministries He has connected us with around the world.  It is because of your love, prayers, and faithful support that we are able to 'go' when God says 'go.'

May your December be blessed with His presence.  The Journey Continues  ~ Pat

Compassionate Pastors and House Parents

Mike & Megha Gutknecht

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Thanksgiving - Thanks-living

This year we are spending Thanksgiving in India - and guess what?   It's not a holiday in this Hindu nation.  It's not even celebrated by the Christians here.   What a strong reminder that America and Canada are not the center of the world.  (Yes I had to include my native country - even though you northerners celebrate Thanksgiving earlier than we do.)

What a great time to change our perspective.  To focus our hearts and minds on the amazing blessings we enjoy - every day - not because it's an official holiday.

What if we were to turn Thanksgiving into Thanks-living.  What if we made it a habit to thank the Lord every day - in every situation.  For the big things - and the small things.  Science has proven that living a life of gratitude benefits every aspect of our lives.

During this season of Thanksgiving, and throughout the year,  Gary and I want you to know how grateful we are for you.  Your love, your prayers, your support, every encouraging word - it all makes an impact in our lives and the lives of those we minister to.

Our Amazing God has given each of us an Amazing life.   And the Journey Continues ~ Pat

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Click here to read the recent devotional by Dr. Jeff Shreve that got me thinking about this topic.

Thankful we didn't have to walk!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Sri Lanka - Resplendent Island

The ten days we spent in Sri Lanka went by very quickly and were very productive.  This was our 4th trip together and we quickly settled into our Sri Lankan home in the guest room at Adara Sevana - a school for the 'Differently Abled".  Each morning we joined the students for daily chapel which included a short Bible story narrated and acted out by - you guessed it - Gary and I!  They enjoyed our amateur dramatics. It was a blessing to pray and speak a blessing over them.  We also shared a special lunch on Children's Day.

Our Sri Lankan ministry partners,  Layasing and Deepthi, have caught the vision and seen the fruit of the eye clinic ministry.  Deepthi has pursued her education over the past 3 years and is almost a fully licensed optician. Her training and certification legitimatizes the eye clinics with the Ministry of Health.   Eye clinics were held in the city of Kandy and village of Akureesa.   We saw about 230 people and gave out 200 pair of eye glasses. Everyone received prayer, and a touch of Jesus' love in a practical way.

Worship and the Word were shared in Sunday and Wednesday services, and a special weekend revival service in Kandy.  It is always encouraging to worship with The Church wherever God sends us.

Deepthi and Layasing are wonderful hosts, graciously making sure we had all that was needed to make our stay in Sri Lanka a joy.  Not to mention the delicious Sri Lankan food!

A part of our heart remains in Sri Lanka.  God is moving, the church is seeing increase – remember to pray for them as they shine the light of Jesus in this primarily Buddhist nation.

The journey continues ~ Pat

DISCLAIMER: Due to our travel schedule and sketchy internet - Journal updates are not in real-time or even in chronological order. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Heartache At Batticaloa

On Easter Sunday, April 17, 2019, Sri Lanka was rocked by terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in the capital city of Colombo and in the eastern coastal city of Batticaloa.  Sadly, 253 lives were lost and many hospitalized due to these attacks perpetrated by a faction of ISIS.

One of the churches that was bombed was Zion Church in Batticaloa.  With our local ministry partners, Pat and I had the privilege to see the church grounds, meet with the Pastor for over 2 hours and pray with him.  Following is an account of what happened that tragic day at Zion Church.

The terrorist had originally planned to attack St Mary's Catholic Church a few blocks away, but when he arrived mass was over, so he went down the street to Zion Church.  Twenty-nine people died, among them a married couple who were the church’s worship leaders, the assistant pastor, several Sunday school teachers and 17 children.

Packed into a large backpack, the blast from this powerful bomb was heard over 3.5 miles away!. It was made up of bottles packed with a corrosive chemical powder and filled with thousands of tiny ball bearings, capped with  C4 explosive. The bombing was tragic and devastating to the families of those killed or injured. Some families lost multiple loved ones. Several people have permanent injuries and are believing for the Lord to heal them. Some are still recovering from burns, others are awaiting plastic surgeries.

The enemy planned for more to die - but God!!!  These may sound like coincidences, but we believe they were divine intervention in an evil plot.

  • Although invited into the church by three different people, the bomber did not go into the sanctuary. He continually asked for the pastor who was in England at that time. The Assistant Pastor became suspicious and was escorting the bomber off the grounds when the terrorist set off the bomb. 
  • The Assistant Pastor usually parks his van off site, but that day he decided to park it on site at a location that shielded the staircase where the children were sitting eating their snacks.
  • The house church caught fire. Pastor had a large fish tank in the courtyard, which ruptured and soaked the ground preventing the fire from spreading further. 

Six months after this tragic blast, the church is being rebuilt by the government and people continue to cope with the results of this grim reminder that we “do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers in heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12).  The Pastor and congregation have chosen to forgive their attackers, and reject bitterness that could destroy hearts and lives as surely as the bomb did. They declare that they will continue to fulfill the call and the mission that God has given them to spread the message of Jesus’ love.

Please continue to pray for Zion Church and all those around the world who are suffering persecution because of their faith in Jesus.

Blessings, Gary

Entrance to the Church Courtyard

Shrapnel bit into concrete, iron and flesh

Rebuilding the church
- after clearing away the destruction.